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Herring Disease Program II 19120111-E - 2019 Annual Report

March 31, 2020

We will investigate fish health factors that may be contributing to the failed recovery of Pacific herring populations in Prince William Sound. Field samples will provide infection and disease prevalence data from Prince William Sound and Sitka Sound that will inform the ASA model, serological data that will indicate the prior exposure history and future susceptibility of herring to VHS, and diet information that will provide insights into the unusually high prevalence of Ichthyophonus that occurs in juvenile herring from Cordova Harbor. Laboratory studies will validate the newly-developed plaque neutralization assay as a quantifiable measure of herd immunity against VHS, provide further understanding of disease cofactors including temperature and salinity, investigate the possibility of an invertebrate host for Ichthyophonus, and assess the virulence of other endemic pathogens to Pacific herring. Information from the field and laboratory studies will be integrated into the current ASA model, a novel ASA-type model that is based on the immune status of herring age cohorts.